Have you been noticing strange symptoms like coughing, sneezing, or a sore throat while you’re in your home? If so, you’re not alone. Many people experience symptoms such as these and attribute them to being nothing more than common seasonal allergies. Often however, the real culprit is poor indoor air quality. Indoor air quality often gets overlooked because it’s somewhat hard to identify and address. Left unaddressed, indoor air quality issues can lead to a number of health problems that can seriously disrupt your home comfort.
Pioneer Valley homeowners owe it to themselves to have a basic understanding of factors that negatively affect indoor air quality—here are just a few to keep in mind:
Old, Dirty Insulation
Old insulation doesn’t do homes any favors. For one, it tends to lend far less effective of an air or thermal barrier for homes than up-to-date insulation materials. The downsides don’t stop there. When it comes to indoor air quality, old insulation that has gotten dirty may have accumulated mold, dust, and debris over the years. Further, your home’s HVAC system may be circulating these contaminants throughout the house, and the best solution is often to replace old insulation with newer, cleaner and better performing materials.
Improper Air Sealing
Air sealing and insulation go hand-in-hand, which is especially true when it comes to indoor air quality. The goal of air sealing is to ensure that there are no cracks or leaks throughout the home that might allow conditioned air (intentionally cooled or heated) to escape. Having numerous places that leak in your home is not only inefficient potential dirty air from outside can infiltrate your home and have a dramatically negative effect on indoor air quality. Sealing cracks and gaps is an essential part of ensuring that this problem is dealt with effectively.
Dirty or Unsealed Ductwork
Just as dirty insulation can affect indoor air quality, so too can ductwork that hasn’t been cleaned in a while. A lack of maintenance over even just a few years’ time can be enough to cause a large buildup of dirt, allergens, and dust in your ductwork. These particles are then circulated throughout the home by your heating and cooling system. Improperly sealed ductwork, too, also has negative effects on energy efficiency and indoor air quality.